Horse Slaughter Bill on Hold

A bill in the U.S. Senate that aims to end horse slaughter for human consumption will most likely be put on hold until next year.

"With an abbreviated schedule in this session before we adjourn for elections and the recess, it doesn't look like we are going to have the time to get to it," said Jack Finn, communications director for Nevada Sen. John Ensign. "You never know, but it probably will not be until next year."

The American Horse Slaughter Prevention Act was passed by the House Sept. 7 by a vote of 263-146. Identical legislation has been introduced in the Senate by Ensign, who is a veterinarian, and Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu.

If the bill becomes a law, it would shut the three horse slaughter plants in the country. The plants in Forth Worth and Kaufman, Texas, and DeKalb, Ill., slaughtered more than 90,000 horses last year.

Because of a clerical error, the wrong version of the bill was delivered to the Senate. The error was discovered the week of Sept. 10, and the House requested the bill be returned so the correct version could be sent.

The bill has been a volatile issue due to the horse's place in American culture. One of the main concerns of those who oppose the bill is what will happen to horses previously headed for slaughter.